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Subject: Winning too much over new players rss

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Nathan James
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Pie-rule doesn't help much if the opponent doesn't know when to swap side and when not to. I would suggest that you place first, and use a position that handicaps you somewhat.

Losing on purpose is a tricky thing. What about simply not playing to your best? Don't think to hard, play a little more instinctively.
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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
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I could go further. IRL I've only played a small handful of games of Go first because people just assumed I must be very good at it and now that I'm married, my wife seems to me a bit nervous about using the full board whenever I suggest it-- even though she's better at the game than I am. In reality, I've very much a novice at the game.

My point is that no matter what level you're at, finding someone to play with at a comparable level is not easy.
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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
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2097 wrote:
whac3 wrote:
My point is that no matter what level you're at, finding someone to play with at a comparable level is not easy.

I’m lucky to have some friends who give me nine stones and still win everytime.

How about your experiences with other abstract games?

For me, it’s less about having a comparable opponent and more about sharing an activity that I enjoy with a friend, maybe over tea.

If it happens to be go reading practice for me at the same time, so much the better

Mostly I play with my wife. She and I both love abstracts. She's expert at Othello for example. With past shabbat, we played a few games of Hoyito, one of Hoyito and a good number of Pente-- as well as a game of Go on a smaller board.

As we play each other's favorites or learn new games, we become better and better matched as opponents.
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john penisburg
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I think this is a general problem in abstract full information games with no dice rolls. If you are already expirienced, how would another player have any fun? This is a good reason to often get new games and start out on equal footing with people (if you like it a lot you can play it a lot with each other and develop together).


Other than that, I would suggest using some handicap machanism in the game (NOT pie rule, that is simply nowhere near enough). for example in snorkel, let your opponent start with a couple of pieces on the board. If they lose, they start with 1 more next time, if they win, they start with 1 less. This way, you will quickly find a good balance (unless they are too 'proud' to play with handicap).
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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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miki_maus wrote:
I think this is a general problem in abstract full information games with no dice rolls. If you are already expirienced, how would another player have any fun? This is a good reason to often get new games and start out on equal footing with people (if you like it a lot you can play it a lot with each other and develop together).


Other than that, I would suggest using some handicap machanism in the game (NOT pie rule, that is simply nowhere near enough). for example in snorkel, let your opponent start with a couple of pieces on the board. If they lose, they start with 1 more next time, if they win, they start with 1 less. This way, you will quickly find a good balance (unless they are too 'proud' to play with handicap).

I think you just have to play the same person many times and when they're not at your level coach them a bit without being heavy-handed. For example, my wife i expert at Othello but before marrying her I'd hardly ever played. The last game we played, I tied her and needed virtually no advice.
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Christian K
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That sounds great, but I think being married to the person is a special case because it allows you to get a lot more than just a couple of games per year
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Clark D. Rodeffer
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I don't have much new to add. If the capture game / Snorkles is something you're passionate about introducing to new players, as you get better at it, maybe try to play to an exact tie score against new / weaker players. This is harder than losing convincingly, and should give you some satisfaction from playing without the sour taste of an intentional loss.
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Gustavo
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2097 wrote:
[q="NJames"]
Quote:
Losing on purpose is a tricky thing. What about simply not playing to your best? Don't think to hard, play a little more instinctively.

I do sometimes. But a part of the reason I want to play board games is to practice paying attention.


I prefer to think of it as an investment. Most people only like to play games when they have a sense of accomplishment after the game, as small as it might be. By using pre-game handicaps and not playing your very best during the first games, you are grabbing the interest of a new player, who will probably become a decent challenge to you later on.

In addition, discussing the game after it is over helps immensely in flattening the learning curve. I personally like to figure out the strategies by myself, but most people don't mind a little help here and there. Just talking about things that went well and others that didn't work can make a lot of difference in engaging the newbie in the learning process.
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Markus Hagenauer jr.
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I think the best way is to worsen your starting position or to complicate your goal.

For Snorkels I´d suggest handicap stones as in Go.

Regarding ZÈRTZ, you might set your goal to onoe more marble or give your opponent an alternative goal, something like any 6 marbles.

When I play Ricochet Robots with new (or simply weaker) players, I allow them to score, if they find a solution equal to mine, befor the sand timer is done.


I think, you can do something like this for almost any game.
The tricky thing is to find the right balance.
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Bwian, just
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I'd just put down some handicap stones. So many parallels to Go already, might as well add one more.

CDRodeffer wrote:
I don't have much new to add. If the capture game / Snorkles is something you're passionate about introducing to new players, as you get better at it, maybe try to play to an exact tie score against new / weaker players. This is harder than losing convincingly, and should give you some satisfaction from playing without the sour taste of an intentional loss.

Maybe I've missed something, but how do you play to an exact tie in the capture game. Either you capture first, or you don't, right? I like the sentiment, but don't see how to implement it here.
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Russ Williams
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It's worth remembering that not everyone gets turned off by losing their first games in a game versus an experienced player. Indeed some people expect to lose and would consider the game to be too shallow or luck-based if they win their first games against an experienced player.

There's no "one size fits all" rule... and no substitute for directly talking with the other player about it. I would simply say "I've played this game a lot so I'll probably win" (which lets the person save face if they actually care about losing their first game to an experienced player) and ask if they want to play a handicap game if I thought this might be an issue for them. For most people I teach games to, the issue doesn't even come up. Perhaps I am lucky.

I agree that it's probably not good to intentionally play bad moves and intentionally lose the game.

Sometimes I play quickly and casually, though.
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russ wrote:

There's no "one size fits all" rule... and no substitute for directly talking with the other player about it.


When I was able to attend the local game night at my FLGS regularly I lost every game we played for quite some time because I had not played them and learned from my mistakes where other players had been able to do so.

A few thoughts that might help you out:

1 - What Russ says is dead on. I never went in expecting to win. I expected to play, learn the rules, and enjoy the company...So if someone was a jerk about winning...then that caused problems for me.

2 - Take your time to give some level of general guidance when doing the rules explanation. You don't have to reveal your strategy, but sometimes guiding people about how things generally work is useful. This is particularly true in games that include an auction mechanic. New players are often most lost in situations like that.

3 - Allow time after the game is over to ask the newest player(s) about their experience. Let them talk to you and your group about it. Sometimes they didn't understand or see options that were available to them and you'll have the opportunity to give some positive reinforcement and feedback to them.

4 - Have fun. Joke about good and bad decisions. It's a great way to keep things light during a first play through for folks.

5 - Take your time. Blowing through your turn as an experienced player can be very tempting, but new players are watching what you do and hearing you think out loud for a turn or two can be extremely handy. Even if you don't talk it through, sometimes things are moving so quickly the new players can't keep up with what you're doing with the rules in their heads.

I went on a 6 month streak where not only did I lose, but I was typically scoring HALF of what the next highest player scored. On the night I finally won a game we had a lot of laughs and savored it with some tongue in cheek pictures. It made it much sweeter and we all had some fun and laughs about it rather than the experience just passing. Gaming is about people and growing and learning. Just keep that in mind and you'll find new players swallow whatever comes their way much easier.
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Nick Bentley
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One thing that I do:

When I introduce a friend to a new game, I make sure to choose a game which is new to me as well, and then I only play that game with that person. Ensures that we each have the same amount of experience at all times, and also allows me to choose games tailored to what I think the opponent will like. It also has a neat psychological effect: the game becomes "our game" and we bond over it a little bit more. There are so many great games that it's never hard to find one that works.

Also, when playing non-abstract players, I play games that are easily handicapped (like games with points where you can tack extra points to the weaker player's score)

Doesn't help you with snorkels though.
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Garrett the Hammer
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I brought up a similar topic a while ago: Dealing with Skill Disparity in Abstract Games
There were some great ideas given.
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